Is Braxton Miller Right to Complain that He Carried the Football Too Much?

By Ross Fulton on December 17, 2013 at 12:45p

In accepting his second Silver Football award this week, Braxton Miller seemingly criticized how often Urban Meyer and Tom Herman asked him to carry the football. Miller's full quote is not available, but according to the Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein, the number of rushing attempts is influencing Miller's interst in entering the NFL draft.

Miller is wary of exposing himself to the kind of injury he suffered in September, a sprained left knee. He attempted 153 rushes this season (down from 227 last year), averaging 16.5 in the Buckeyes' final four games. He said he's “getting tired” of the pounding and is well aware Ohio State will lose four senior starters on its offensive line.

He wants to develop as more of a traditional, pro-style quarterback, saying: “We recruit running backs. They're on scholarship too.”

Does Miller have a legitimate gripe regarding his use?

Apples to Apples

To analyze, we must distinguish the three ways Miller gets rushing attempts. The first is scrambling. These are not called runs at all, but an outgrowth of the passing game. Miller's scrambling threat enhances his effectiveness as a passer and as a player. It limits the amount of man coverage an opposing defense plays, because by playing men defenders' backs are turned away from the line of scrimmage, providing Miller chunk yardage before the defense reacts. As such, runs on scramble should be included as passing yardage.

Miller demonstrated this against Michigan State. His scrambling versus the Spartans' pattern matching cover 4 led to his biggest runs that day, and allowed Ohio State to claw back into the game.

It goes without saying that the decision to scramble rests with Miller – not Meyer or Herman. And it influences how Miller reacts on passing plays. Miller knows he is a such a good athlete that he holds the football in the pocket, rather than trying to fit throws into tight windows or throw the ball away. Presumably, Miller would continue to scramble with some frequency in an NFL uniform, as it is his ultimate fallback weapon.

Reading is Fundamental 

The next chunk of Miller's rushing attempts come on read plays. The amount Miller must run on such plays is a mixed bag. A read play's purpose is to hold one defender with the quarterback run threat, allowing the offense to re-equate numbers and apply better blocking at the point of attack. But a threat does not work unless the offense is willing to act upon it, so a quarterback must be prepared to keep.

That being said, the default on read plays is generally to give, and Miller could lessen his attempts by being more consistent with reads. No quarterback will always make the correct read. And Miller has improved.

But he at times still pre-determines whether to give or keep, particularly with inverted veer. Miller kept on every inverted veer against the Spartans, including a critical third and four, where giving to Jordan Hall likely results in a first down. The Spartan force defender has his shoulders turned towards Miller, and Michigan State has no one left to account for Hall.

Read plays are the foundation of Meyer's offense, so that will not change and Miller will get carries on such plays – though his carries can be limited. But an NFL team that drafted Miller will also presumably utilize the zone read, as NFL coaches have done with other young quarterbacks coming from spread systems. Granted, Miller will be getting paid to run those read plays, but it is hard to imagine an NFL team would utilize Miller as a "traditional, pro-style quarterback" – at least initially. 

Dialing Your Number

That brings us to the last source of Miller's rushing attempts, which is designed quarterback runs such as counter trey.

Meyer and Herman are chary with such runs unless and until the Buckeyes are playing a quality opponent such as Michigan State. For instance, Ohio State did not use lead outside zone all season until they faced the Spartans.

But it is no coincidence that Miller's rushing attempts rose in the last month as the passing game became less efficient. Lou Holtz once said that an offense must do two of the following well – run the football, run option, and pass. In other words, you must threaten the defense in multiple ways. So as the Buckeye passing game regressed, Miller's running ability became increasingly important. 

That is not to lay the blame for Miller's increased running solely on his passing. Wind, snow, and underwhelming wide receiver play all contributed to a less effective passing game. But blame aside, the Buckeye offense could not succeed with a less than 50% completion rate unless Miller threatened the defense as a runner. 

Continuing the Evolution

As Greenstein notes, Miller's carries were reduced from 228 last season to 153 this year, albeit in two less games. And the reduced carries are a reflection of Miller's improvement as a passer. Miller's carries are most directly determined by the number of called designed runs, and such plays are less necessary when the Ohio State offense better threatens the defense with the pass. If Miller continues to make strides as a passer, his number of carries will further fall.

But Miller's rushing attempts are likely a side note to whether Miller opts for the draft. Miller would undoubtedly be featured in a more pass happy offense next season, but his comments indicate he wants to leave for the NFL if he receives back a draft evaluation to his liking.  Only Miller can say what grade he needs to hear to leave, but if he received a first or perhaps even second round evaluation it would be difficult to blame him for leaving early. 


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Maestro's picture

Finally this season I felt like on 2nd and 3rd and long it wasn't a guarantee that Miller would be running.  However, during the MSU game I started to feel that way again.
The passing game was excellent until the Illinois game.  Hoping that it can carry through the entire season next year.  When push comes to shove though he is too dynamic to eliminate from the running game, or even limit significantly.

vacuuming sucks

Bucks777's picture

Braxton makes a good point about running the football more than most of the running backs currently, and he also get the touches more often than the Wide outs/TE.   What really baffles me is the lack of creative play calling that has gone on over the last 4 games of the season..???  If you look at talent we have: Jordan Hall, Dontre, Smith, Brown, Eze, Huerman, Spencer, Hyde, etc... Offensive play calling is suppose to blind or hide what offensive weapon will be used next and where at on the playing field.  MSU, Michigan, and quite a few other teams have developed that underneath passing routes, screens, TE routes, RB flat and screens, etc... We simply have not, we have become so over predictable on offense that I feel like it also bit us in the A_ _ against MSU.  What happened to the TE screen , TE seam, TE out and up, etc.  What happened to the quick slants, what happened to the wheel routes to say Dontre or Eze, what happened to all the screen plays ????  Where is there any creativity on our offensive play calling???? Borges did a fiine job, I watched that game again, our defenders were out of position almost constantly, that includes defensive lineman, because they created plays that were hidden and devised schemes that we did not see coming.... plain and simple.  There is no reason we do not complete at least 5 to 6 underneath crossing routes every game, 3 slants per game minimum, screens to the sideline using TE, RB, WR, underneath 5 yd in and outs, where are they?????  Instead in the MSU game look how many times Braxton tried a deep ball , which was of course incomplete except for 1.
It would be one thing to say we don't have the play makers, or we don't have the skill position players, etc.  Fact is we have so many that i t is disgusting to see them on the bench or not being utilized

RufusVonDufus's picture

Thank you for saving me the time and effort!   The play calling was abysmal especially in the last quarter.   No, it was the same the entire game!


RuGettinIt's picture

^^^THIS^^^  Granted our WRs dropped some passes that should have been caught in that game, but I still think Miller misses open receivers with his tendency to throw the HR ball more often than not.
I would truly be shocked to see a high round draft grade coming.

d gordon a's picture

Right ON  Frustrated for the loss of Gonzales and to think with all the speed we can`t find a guy to catch those types of pass plays

BuckWylde's picture

Bucks, Rufus, Maestro, R U, and practically every other poster here;  all you guys are right on point with your observations and I'd like to thank Braxton for his tongue in cheek remarks that called-out the play calling down the stretch of this season.
As one that saw Herman's Iowa State offense at least 5 times, I've wondered for the last 2 seasons about the lack of creativity shown here, especially in light of having vastly superior athletes than at I-State. Could it be that the institutional and fans demand for excellence at TOSU are so great that it forces the coaches and coordinators into playing the not-to-lose coaching style that characterized much of Tressel's tenure, and was sickeningly apparent in the B1G Championship game this year.
The general tone of the comments here make it clear to me that I'm not the only one that saw the Buckeye coaches give-away our shot at a national title, by failure to trust in their own play-book and their players' ability to execute the plays to win the game against MSU.
In short, I believe our kids were cheated out of their shot at history this year because their coaches got "PUNKED" in the B1G game!!!
OH! . . .

All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions. -Adlai Stevenson, governor, US ambassador

FROMTHE18's picture

may get some DV's for this but for anyone who watched his passing (generally) during the last 1/4 of the season (including the B1G title game), I'd have run him often too. 

BAR43's picture

Kinda agree. At the same time, we were not running the same short routes, screens, etc that were working early in season. So can completely blame Miller for the passing towards the end. He does still need to work on touch obivously.

Will in Arizona's picture

Philly Brown got hurt and had issues getting free afterwards.  Devin Smith has always been more of the intermediate/deep guy.  The other WRs, frankly, just aren't good enough.
The short passing game late in the season more and more focused on getting the ball to Carlos Hyde on swing passes, which only worked against the worst defenses.

Maestro's picture

Spencer is a good blocker, nice route runner, good team guy I am sure.  I was pretty surprised that he maintained his starting position as the season wore on though.  He is pretty ineffective at running a bubble screen due to his limited shiftiness, and he doesn't seem to be much of a deep threat.  I don't expect him to start next season.
The team really needs someone else to slide into Spencer's role, and I would love if Dontre Wilson could take over Philly's role.

vacuuming sucks

immort9888's picture

I would love to see Dontre in Philly's role and Jalin Marshall push Spencer.  It would be a nasty passing attack to have Devin Smith stretching a defense over the top with Dontre and Jalin stretching it horizontally.

Ross Fulton's picture

I personally don't see Wilson as a full time receiver like Brown. He is too short/small. I think he is a guy that you move around a lot in and out of the backfield.


Marshall has the opportunity to be a slot.


The guy to watch for pushing Spencer is Corey Smith.

Bucks777's picture

What exactly is a full time receiver?  That is the question Devin Smith caught 1 pass in each of the last 4 games, yet he is a full time receiver.  I believe that Dontre should catch or touch the ball on offense a minimum of 7 times a game next year.  There is a reason that he is the kick returner, and Meyer calls him electrifying, no one can catch him in the open field, however, the more he goes unused the more he presses himself when he does get the ball and that is not good either. If he knows he is only going to get the ball say 2 or 3 times like he did this year, he tries to do too much and presses himself into trying to hard and creating a bad play ie fumble ,etc...  He need's to be implemented in the short passing game and the running game to the perimeter. Once he has that down you can begin to throw down field to him, no CB can keep up with his speed going deep, just ask the CB at tOSU.  Oh and his hands for catching the football A- he is that good!!!

d5k's picture

While I think "full time receiver" usually requires more height, the prototype slot in my opinion is Wes Welker who is what 5'8"?  A slot shouldn't be contesting jump balls.  I guess it depends how you use him but I would classify slot receivers as quick in a phone booth guys whose job usually is to get open in tight areas in the underneath middle.  If Wilson can execute option routes and crossing routes (sitting down in the holes in zone) along with his backfield game I think he could see the field a lot more.

Poison nuts's picture

I tend to think it will be Michael Thomas who steps into either Philly or Spencer's role. 

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Ross Fulton's picture

I agree that Brown's injury had a big impact.  The intermediate passing game completely went away once he was dinged up.

d5k's picture

From what I can tell, a lot of our drop back passing game has been flood routes, with less of the follow-pivot type combinations designed to take advantage of matchups with linebackers and safeties.  Do you think they try to simplify the reads (high-low on one side) for Braxton more than they would like?  Or are they just trying to use the passing game to drag defenders out of the box?  While Braxton's passing certainly improved, a lot of the passing attack was geared around the packaged plays and screens along with play action shot plays.  Once we can truly get chunks in the 10-20 yard range with crossing routes that aren't wide open, we will have a complete attack.  The missing element is still that Harvin role, which I expect Dontre to fill on a full-time basis as he learns how to run more than 2 routes.

RufusVonDufus's picture

That's the fault of the coaches.    They have been ill prepared just about the entire year.   It seems that they were never confident that anyone but BMiller and Hyde could do anything.


d5k's picture

I would add Philly Brown to that list but as mentioned he was hurt late in the year.  He barely played vs. Indiana where we used Dontre more but they were too scared to use Dontre in the last 2 games.  So instead a hobbled Philly played at less than full capacity.  And the other guys could do things, but those things were mostly blocking at a high level.

BuckeyeStrong2's picture

Just like using Pitt Brown over Vonn Bell at safety on defense!


Bucks777's picture

I agree at what point do you not start putting some of the blame on these coaches.  I mean they knew early on in the season that we could go undefeated and play in the NCG, Heck we were ranked #2 to start the season. You would think there would have been some sort of plan to have players involved in specific areas and then to get them ready to play those positions, run the routes, catch passes, etc... Seems like they never did and that is precisely why we looked so vanilla and predictable at the end of the season!!!   MSU offense was nil at the beginning of the season....!   We were putting up 76 point son teams...etc... We come to the end of the season and MSU offense outscores us and quite frankly out game planned us as well.!!!!  Their offense look like it had more wrinkles, and was much more creative than ours in that game!!!!  Heck Dontre should have caught 7 passes for 100+ yards and a touchdown or 2...Same goes for the TE (Huerman) Ezekiel should have had some screen plays and had some great opportunities to excel, but nope Just Brax and Hyde show, exactly what the Spartans practiced against in practice leading up to the game... no wrinkles, no creativeness, nothing!!!!

Ross Fulton's picture

It's easy to say that but think about it this way. For each touch you are giving to someone else you are taking the ball out of Miller, Hyde, and Brown's hands.  When an opposing D Coordinator game plans, is he worried about Heurerman or Elliot?  No he is glad those guys are taking touches away.


Wilson has potential but he also made a lot of mistakes and is raw. Easy to say he should catch x passes, but he dropped an easy one in the IU game. Plus he can't block on the edge.

d gordon a's picture

Spencer is fearless and I never saw him cross to the middle

rider1's picture

Seemed to me that the passing efficiency went down with the temperature and weather conditions.

Maestro's picture

Certainly seemed that way.  Especially against Illinois, but that didn't keep Scheelhaase from lighting up the Bucks secondary for 33 completions.
I think we as fans are leaning on the weather a little too much though.  I think the Philly injury and the lack of an intermediate passing game caused more of the problems.  Miller reverted to his comfort zones : Hyde out of the backfield, tucking and running, Heuerman down the seem, and deep throws to Smith.
The fact that the running game was so dominant also led to fewer pass attempts near the end of the year.  If it ain't broke don't fix it I guess.  Problem was that MSU's defense required a 2 headed monster to defeat it, and the passing game was a failure that night.  IMHO, a huge part of that is on the shoulders of the receivers in that game.

vacuuming sucks

cdub4's picture

I bought the weather argument, I have been to an OSU game in Champaign, and the conditions were windy, but like someone said, the Illinois qb had an excellent game. Gardner also had a career day in Ann Arbor in the same conditions, and NFL quarterbacks are expected to make throws in bad conditions, and play more December games and have a goal of playing in January. Miller also is born and bred in Ohio.

Bucks777's picture

I agree to a point, the passing plays we are calling on offense are not your high percentage completion routes.  He is throwing 25+ yard plays down field, not exactly high percentage throws in any QB handbook.  We need to keep it simple like Michigan did with Gardner, like the Patriots do with Brady, underneath routes, TE, WR screens, Welker type plays, 5 yard in or out on a LB, high efficiency passing plays!  Then we could throw deep when we would need to . Look at all of Gardner's throws...98% were less than 10 yards. Now what the WR, RB or TE does after the catch is a completely different story but I know we have the play makers that MSU and Michigan have, ...right?

vtbuckeye's picture

Does Braxton make those throws on a regular basis? Are those passes his strength? Just this past year he finally became somewhat proficient at throwing the flash screen and bubble screen.

Bucks777's picture

If your a QB at this level of D1 football, you should be able to make those throws in your sleep!  He did it in High School or he would never have had the opportunity to play D1 simple as that. The shortest pass on the field is also the easiest completion for any QB. If you cant complete that pass at 80% or above' then  there is not reason to throw 40 yards down field.

hansman's picture

Especially when he is about to face a defense known as the "no fly zone" after how his passing had just looked during the last part of the season. I agree with people saying we should have been more creative, but I don't necessarily think that we should have let Miller do nothing but sling it freely against MSU. People need to also remember that those were the best cornerbacks we faced all year. We didn't get picked off with our gameplan and we still lost by ten points. The only thing that doesn't really add up with all this is that Herman risked letting Miller throw the ball deep against that defense (more than once) but abandoned almost all the short routes, crossing routes, tight end routes, etc. You think it would have been just the opposite. If you aren't hesitant to throw it deep, why be hesitant at all?

Bucks777's picture

100% correct the short passing game OPENS up the deep routes and mid passing game!!!!  Everyone that has ever coached or knows anything about football knows this!!!  Hureman is a great pas catcher, as is Dontre, Ezekiel, Spencer, etc...  They do great in practice and not to use them in the game situations leading up to this game is just unacceptable!
*Heck they could have been using them all season long, I mean really , you dont trust them against Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, etc....?????
You could have been using these plays all season long to develop Braxton and these younger extremely talented guys!!!!  I truly believe this should have been done, but for whatever reason it wasn't!.  Swing Dontre out on a swing pattern out of the backfield,/ Oh we did that once this season he went 27 yeards for a touch down. He wiggled made a couple people miss and then.....TD!!!!!

BAR43's picture

Yes, he has a legit reason to gripe. We have so many offensive weapons, why is our OC not using them like he did at the beginning of the season. I am not keen on Miller leaving early, because I don't think he is ready, but if the OC continues or plans to use Miller the same way next year, I wouldn't blame him for leaving. There is no benefit for Miller, or really OSU, to run him as much as he did this season.


He's going to get hit a hell of a lot harder in the NFL, especially if he does not develop his passing game more because NFL GMs are going to draft him for his athletic ability first. What if he's drafted by a read-option offensive coach?
It's possible Brax's quote might have been more of a plea to Meyer to ramp up the passing game for 2014. But as it was said before, Meyer and Herman are out to win games, not make Brax happy.
One thing was certain. Miller's passing took a step backward after the Purdue game. The Illinois game a prime example. There was some confidence lost on both sides. What caused it?

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

d5k's picture

Guys holding clipboards don't get hit hard I don't think.  No knock on Braxton but it is highly unlikely he starts early on if he leaves this year.  I think he would be a mid-round pick as a backup project.  Injuries and random fall-off-the-map seasons like what just happened to Matt Schaub happen.

osu07asu10's picture

We're in good hands regardless of what Braxton decides!

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The 0 is silent.

OSUFlash's picture

Seriously???? Someone who has never taken a snap in the 2 years he's been at OSU???? I'd love to see JT become another Troy Smith as much as the next guy but unless you're secretly Coach Meyer your optimism is at least 2 years away.


Maestro's picture

Had Jameis Winston taken a snap before this season?  Or Johnny Manziel before 2012?  NO and NO.
I am not saying Barrett is equivalent to those players, but he is very talented, knows this system inside and out and I feel comfortable that he will be very successful.  Especially with a Spring and Pre-season practice as "the man".

vacuuming sucks

BuckeyeBred's picture

Maestro, I'm an optimist about JT as much as the next guy, but I would ask for proof that JT knows the offense "inside and out". 
In addition, what makes him better than Cardale?  Because he didn't have a stupid tweet this year? There are a lot of unknowns here, but we know for sure that Cardale can run in a game - even when the entire defense knows it's coming. 

Maestro's picture

Watch his highlights from high school.  His reads on the inverted veer are a thing of beauty.
Vertical passing game, read option.  He has been doing it for years.  He fits into Meyer's offense perfectly.
There is no proof until he plays, but the same could be said about Winston and Manziel.
If Jones were to beat him out I would be very confident that Jones was going to be very very good.

vacuuming sucks

RufusVonDufus's picture

Do you mean like MSU knew when BMiller was running the the 4th quarter and shut him down for minus yardage on very crucial plays where Hyde/Hall should have been getting the ball.    It's the coaches, guys, it's the coaches!


osu07asu10's picture

Do you mean like MSU knew when BMiller was running the the 4th quarter and shut him down for minus yardage on very crucial plays where Hyde/Hall should have been getting the ball.

Braxton actually gained 1 yd on the play and listening to Urban, they anticipated the blitz on the outside, it was just execution (on Allen's part) or lack there of (on Heuerman's part). Basically, Urban was betting on not just picking up the 1st down but breaking a long run.

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BuckeyeStrong2's picture

"Basically, Urban was betting on not just picking up the 1st down but breaking a long run."
That's my issue with the coaching. It's 4th and 2 and your hopes of a championship are on the line. Just give Hyde the damn ball and line up for first down! It really should have been that simple.


osu07asu10's picture

Seriously???? Someone who has never taken a snap in the 2 years he's been at OSU????

Could have sworn he is only a freshman...
Plus just  because he hasn't take a snap in his 1 year in the program, doesn't mean he hasn't been a model student athlete playing a major leadership role for his class and the future
Be a hater though...

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

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I_Run_The_Dave's picture

He was a true freshman last year and is red shirting this year.  So he has been in the program 2 years and will be a red-shirt sophomore next season.
I might have spoken too soon, he enrolled in January 2013.

BuckeyeBred's picture

I'm not sure trying to point out a faulty premise is being a hater.
The fact is, rooting for JT to start is rooting against the other Buckeye QBs to start. It's more of a hater to root for just one as opposed to saying that you can't wait for the competition for the next starter - which is my position.
May the best man win! 

TimmyZ's picture

He's only been here since the spring. True freshman. But your point is valid.

Doc's picture

I like Braxton, but he's not first or second round material.  Yet.  His passing leaves a lot to desired.  He needs another year of college ball.  Look what happened to Troy Smith between his junior and senior years.  I would take Troy Smith over Braxton in a second.

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Will in Arizona's picture

Troy Smith had Santonio Holmes, Ted Ginn Jr, and Anthony Gonzalez, backed up by Brian Hartline, Brian Robiskie and Ray Small.  3 First round guys, a second round guy, and a fourth round guy who is now a solid NFL receiver.
That much talent at WR will make any QB look good.  Troy Smith was great, but it's hard to judge him against Braxton.  Devin Smith and Philly Brown will go to the NFL, but I don't see either being a first round guy - perhaps Smith if he improves his route running.

BAR43's picture

Really good points here. However, Smith had very good mechanics and could read the defense very well. Miller has good mechanics, still needs to work on touch and does not quite read defenses well yet.

Ross Fulton's picture

Ppl also remember Smith as a senior. As a junior he was much closer to Braxton. Tressel relied on Troy's legs a lot more in '05.

d5k's picture

He was a much less athletic Braxton to be more accurate.  Tressel relied on Troy's improvisation throughout his career.  In '05 he scrambled for first downs, in '06 he bought time and made big plays through the air.

RufusVonDufus's picture

I can just imagine the amount of dancing he will be doing if he plays on Sundays next year.    DWTS will be giving him nothing but tens!


BKshepherd's picture

I agree with the article.  As much as Braxton improved in the passing game this year, I expected his success passing to continue in the latter part of the season, but as the article states, the passing game became "under whelming". 
As the premier run threat QB in the nation, I'd think that Braxton would expect to run more than average, unless he can help produce more of a dominant passing attack.  I sure hope he comes back, but I wouldn't hold it against him if he didn't. 

Red Shirt Ensign's picture

He only improved passing in the games that didn't matter as much.  teh Completion percentages against U-_ and _ichigan State were 8/21 and 6/15   or 38.8 percent.  
what happened to the guy who passed for 68% and 4 TD's vs wisky???
If he doesn't want to run he needs to pass.  If the playcallers don't have faith in him to pass, we will run more and by extension, so will he.

"Captain, over here, I've found someth... AHHHH!!!!!!"


Wesleyburgess1's picture

IMO Braxton is a fragile wildcat running back. He has not proven that he can throw the ball much at all. More importantly than anything though, it seems he has severe confidence issues.They have to treat him like a freshman in the Big 10 championship game and help him gain confidence by throwing short passes to start the game. If he misses at the beginning the whole game is off. I just hope new receivers next year help.

mclovin's picture

The fragility point is a good one and one I'm surprised isn't brought up more.  I guarantee one of the most important stats to NFL scouts is time out due to injury.  That is a big number for Braxton dating back to high school. 

allinosu's picture

Part of the reason it was "under whelming" was the play calling got predictable. First down throwing was only in the opening drive then it was only in third and long. I doubt he could ever get into a groove.

Buckeye Chuck's picture

There are a lot of QBs who carry the ball (including sacks and scrambles as "carries") as often as Miller does. I don't know that I'd say it's excessive, especially considering how good he is at it. 
If it's the NFL he's worried about, he should look at the kind of senior season Alex Smith had for Meyer. He got the attention of the scouts without putting up pinball numbers as a passer, because he showed he could make the plays. If Miller throws a lot more but without improved efficiency, his stats might superficially seem better, but it won't be fooling anybody.
Assuming he sticks around, he needs to just continue on the road he's on. He's gotten better every year; a similar improvement between now and 2014 will make him NFL caliber without question.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

aabuckeye's picture

If he doesn't want to run so much, it's up to him to further develop his passing skills. Yeah, the team has running backs on scholarship, but they also have wide receivers on scholarship that they'd love to get the ball to more often. The ball's in his court.

Bucks777's picture

GREAT STUFF!!!   You make the perfect point!!!!  When I was in college playing Baseball, I would go out on my own and practice on my weaknesses, through time and repetition, I became better and better and soon (1 full year) my weakness had become my strengths,,,practice does make perfect if your into it 100% on developing and getting better. Braxton has the athletic ability to be a Winston, he has good arm strength, good vision, and good decision making. 
He need's to get together with the receivers and they need to go inside (because of snow) :-)  and get into the Woody athletic center and practice route running and him throwing to them before they turn around, make throws, practice, practice, practice....  Find out his weakness and work on just that aspect of his game until he is extremely comfortable with making that throw and completing it... simple in words, but ACTIONS are what causes things to happen!!!  If he and the receivers spent an hour a day focusing on their weakness and getting better , this time noext year we will be playing in the Natty and have complete players.  That goes for the DB as well, they can get out their with them and work on skill sets that they each individually need to improve on, no coaches needed, just be a leader and go do it!

Hayesedandconfused's picture

I would say that he had 2 too many carries this year. 3rd and 4 and fourth and short both in the B1G Championship game other than that he shouldn't whine.

Will in Arizona's picture

He's injury prone.  If he can get 4th round money now, I think I would go pro if I were him.  $300k is better than a career ending injury.

CptBuckeye24's picture

Yes, but insurance policies exist for a reason.  An insurance policy is a hedge for any injury in an attempt to improve draft stock. 

bukyze's picture

Especially that third down play.  Should've been El Guapo all the way.  The 4th down play was Huerman's fault.  If it wasn't for his matador blocking, Braxton probably would've gotten the first down.

Michael Citro's picture

To be fair, Jeff Heuerman's blocking has been exemplary all season long. Nobody makes every single play. It's unfortunate that he missed his block on that crucial play but such is life.

BoFuquel's picture


I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

Bamabucknut's picture

Miller is not going to get drafted because he's a gifted passer when compared to other elite qb's in the draft.
Miller's passing stats declined when facing better competition.
Miller has always been injury prone.
Urban's offense is predicated on a qb that can pass and RUN.

45has2's picture

Perhaps, Mr. Miller, if you could put any touch on your short and intermediate passes, if you would pitch the ball on the majority of options, if you would throw the ball away instead of trying to be the hero, if you did not panic in the pocket for no reason, or if you would make the proper reads you would not have to blame the coaching staff for your own short comings. Now you're a whiner also? Please declare so someone with more grit can step up and play like a Buckeye.
P.S.  Any coach or player will tell you that if you play afraid of getting hurt, you will play tentatively and guess what? You will get hurt.

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

Jack Fu's picture

Please declare so someone with more grit can step up and play like a Buckeye.

I think resorting to David Eckstein would be a bad idea.

1MechEng's picture

45Has2 - Good observations, but I think the condescending tone got you some DV's.
I completely agree with the comment about Miller's lack of touch on his passes. Everything is thrown hard at the receiver. Work on putting the ball on the receiver's hands'. Sometimes, a little lob pass is just as good as a laser. It will result in fewer drops by the receivers.

45has2's picture

I knew it was going to be unpopular when I posted it. It's ok, I'm a big boy.

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

Buckeye80's picture

I don't think your opinion is necessarily unpopular, but definitely your tone. Remember recruits and players read this stuff. Fair, constructive criticism is great. You stated many great points. Your tone (at least to me) came across as a father scolding a teenage child, or maybe a person scolding a dog caught in the trash. I would guess your DV's came from that, and it's a shame because it took away from a couple of valid points. 

Seattle Linga's picture

The obvious answer is for him to return for his senior season to improve his skill however have an idea of how many times he would want to run the ball during the game. Once this is agreed he can be 100% happy with the offensive design. The last thing we want is a frustrated QB and he's right, we have a lot of horses in the barn that want the ball. 

LouGroza's picture

Many times it seemed he would have been better served to go with the "other" option to begin with as opposed to him toting the rock, as others have noted here. If he would throw to receivers as he should, meaning prior to them actually being open, anticipating the route he knows they are running, there would not be the need for him to run as much. So he can look in the mirror for much of it. Always thought maybe he wanted to pad the stats a little. I love B. Miller, he's a Buckeye, but do not want him throwing anyone under the bus. Someone is in his ear, it seems.

NJ_BUCKEYE's picture

If you don't trust your receivers to get open, then it is really hard to anticipate them getting open on the route they are running.  I think as much as people blame Braxton for the poor passing game in the latter stages of the season, you can just as easily blame the receivers (not named Philly) for failing to consistently get open, and then actually make the catch when they do get open.

741's picture

Another excellent article by Ross!

fear_the_nut70's picture

From what I read, that play that XBrax go hurt on against SDSU was not supposed to be a QB run--Miller did that on his own.
UFM should tell him if he wants to come back, there will be an emphasis on working on his passing from the pocket.  I think we have a number of great RB's that can carry the load.  Just my two cents...

WedgeSplitter's picture

If we were gonna go with a passing QB, it probably wouldn't have been miller starting all season. His legs are the reason he is QB1 and not QB2.

D. Anthony's picture

Braxton is actually lucky that all the blow-outs last year kept him from having to run more... and it's true that if he made better reads, had better accuracy and got rid of the ball quicker like the top level college passers his runs would've been way less.
Braxton has to look out for himself and his future, but it's a little sad to see him not better understanding or explain that he, like any player, knows that doing what's best for the current team you play on comes first. His comment sounded like what you'd expect a current pro to gripe about. I can't believe he thinks in his heart that he'd be running as much if his passing, reads and accuracy were NFL caliber.

D. Anthony

CptBuckeye24's picture

Getting rid of the ball is really a key element.  If you hold on to it too long, you are going to take a hit; either from the pass rush or down field on a scramble.  I think it is partly on Braxton and partly in the WR corps. 

CptBuckeye24's picture

I have a problem with him taking the football and those QB dives and draws straight up the middle.  He can't get hit by  DEs/DTs/LBs when 3 of these guys put a hit on him on a single play.  That's taking a pounding.
For Braxton, the read is effective because he doesn't have to take the football/get hit and he can get to the outside and use his speed to the sideline and up the field. 
Scrambling and taking off on a pass play is also effective too. 
The intermediate passing game needs to come around, it is not a secret the passing game flourished once this became a part of the game plan.  See the Penn St. and Purdue games.  The offense suddenly went vertical in the last 4 games, especially in the Sparty and TTUN games.  The WR corps really need to improve route running and getting those 5-15 yard timing routes down.  Smith, Spencer, Thomas, and C. Smith really need to show they can run these routes and be effective.  Smith's 1 catch in each of the last four games is not adequate.  I don't understand why this offense cannot run post routes, comeback routes, or routes in the 10-15 yard range.  Seems like it gets very horizontal or vertical.  Vertical is great, especially when you have speed to the outside and in the backfield, but when receivers drop passes, it is a big problem.  You need the running game to set up the passing and create mismatches in the passing game. 
Let the speedy guys (Marshall, Wilson, RBs, Clark, etc.) work the outside with the bubble screens, quick out routes, etc (the horizontal passing game). 

Bucks777's picture

I agree 1000% what has happened to the horizontal passing plays?????  Look what Michigan & MSU did with the high completion percentage plays...I watched Gardner he threw 98% of his passes against us under 15 yards, then let the play makers run with it afterwards.  We simply need that brought into our offense scheme in order to open up the vertical game and the run.

CptBuckeye24's picture

Yeah exactly.  If we are such a deep threat, it would make sense a zone coverage would be giving a cushion.  You need to take advantage of that.  That's why speed and the Hybrid spot  is so crucial in this offense.  It creates mismatches.  Sparty and TTUN took advantage of the 10 yard cushion. 

Bucks777's picture

It's really a NO BRAINER!!!  Put your electrifying athlete in space and watch the defensive coordinator bite his nails on every single play ....  You enforce your will upon the defensive staff and players!!!!  One false missed tackle against Dontre and it's too the house!!!  Look what Gallon and Michigan did to about other teams that passed for over 300 yards against us, it was all short passing game to get the ball in space to their play makers!!!!  Simple, very simple!!!!  They going to put a LB on Dontre??? how about their fastest DB, their going to have to and then it will open up Devin,,,,I could go on and on...just bad play calling and bad offensive game plan in general...

d5k's picture

The defenses we face are not the same as our defense at all.

Bucks777's picture

no your 100% correct, they are not: THEY being: Purdue, Illinois, Minnesota,NW, Indiana, need I go on...?  These teams in the BIG also do not have tOSU offensive weapons!!!  2 of which are Heisman caliber in HYDE & Brax.  I am speaking of Offensive play calling, and the lack therof....
Are you saying that we could not have been more creative against MSU?  Not sure I am falling your line of thought...?

Larryp713's picture

I am certain that Meyer and Hermann will talk with him in the off-season about what he wants to do, and that will influence how they use him in 2013. But if Braxton really wants to develop as a pocket passer, he will need to show that he can make quicker and more accurate throws. He holds the ball way too long, and would not last in the NFL. Pre-snap reads and passing accuracy should be his primary focus for next season, and he should stay in school. The NFL is no place to learn those skills on the job.
But, as Russ stated, he will run in this offense. I think if he wants to avoid potential injuries, he should do two things... run hard, and learn to freaking slide. His injuries always seemed to happen when we was hesitant or landed awkwardly in a crowd. When he runs explosively, the defense are on their heels, and he usually lands more naturally, not stressing joints. He takes some harder shots, though, because he doesn't always hit the deck in time. Get what you can and get down.



angelique's picture

Dear Braxton,
You're fun to watch Braxton and you're from almost Northridge so I love you.   Stick around one more year.      Get your degree from "The Ohio State University".   You will never be sorry.
And Braxton, no more complaining.   If you don't want to play quarterback then play wide receiver and run a route full speed directly across the line of scrimmage.    If you dare!
But I love watching you at quarterback.
You make my day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Go Buckeyes


WezBuck28's picture

I think of we would have cut down on those designed runs for miller and used Wilson, who is just as quick and shifty in those situations, and only ran braxton when the pocket collapsed he would be better off injury wise...but in a perfect world..

Bucks1's picture

I just worry that his statement may be taken wrong and could really hurt him in the draft anyway.  

"I will pound you and pound you until you quit." - Woody Hayes

Yamosu's picture

The answer is no.  If he handed the ball off on that read option when he should, he'd carry the ball 5 less times a game. 

WezBuck28's picture

Boys are bigger, stronger, and hit a lot harder in the NFL..just ask Huber..I dont believe running away will be as easy as it is for him now..

USMC11917's picture

I love watching Braxton play but before he has any room to complain about running the ball too much he needs to instill confidence in his coaches that he can pass it. The last four games of the season left a lot to be desired in the stat department. Granted, Michigan State did a phenomenal job with its secondary but had Braxton had better receivers, some of those throws would have been completed. Before that, no excuses other than the weather.
Second, if you don't want to take the hits don't slow down at the sideline in an attempt to draw a personal foul on the defense.
Third, continue to improve on your read options and for the love of Pete, please focus on ball control.
I hope you come back for your senior year. I also agree with what you said in relation to utilizing the running backs more. I think Coach is trying to take advantage of the numbers game and the matchups. It works much better when you are a respected passer instead of when teams stack the box. Show them in the non-conference games next year and let her rip all the way to the Heisman baby!

Bucks777's picture

Play football, complainers don't play football.  What would Woody Hayes say to a QB that said such.....hmmm  Today players are to worried about not getting hurt, because of lucrative contracts... I can't blame take out some insurance for your senior season say a couple million policy and have at it, and give it your all,,,,,practice , practice, practice and you will become one of the best passing QB's at tOSU in history, I know you have it in you, and then 2015 draft $$$$  Pay Day!  first rounder.

MassiveAttack's picture

Additionally, I would say that even if XBrax ran as often as last year, he took FAR fewer hits this season.  He routinely ran out of bounds to avoid contact, and turned around backwards when anticipating contact.  Not saying any of that is a bad thing, just that he didn't take as many hits.

The Ohio State University - "Haters love us!"

RBuck's picture

I wondering how many sacks (poundings) that Brax had the last three seasons. Just seems he could have thrown the ball away a few more times.

Long live the southend.

Eph97's picture

Wide receivers were very average. Don't recall Evan Spencer making any noteworthy catches after his infamous trash talking, but do remember his drops in the UM and MSU games.

rekrul's picture

This sounds more of a way to let "people" know that if he is going to consider staying he wants to be less of a running quarterback and more of a pro style quarterback.  Current pro players do it in the media all the time to voice their frustrations without confronting the coaches.

Out Work, Out Think, Out Play!!!

45has2's picture

Fine, then make the "pro style" throws.

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

ABrown07's picture

He made his name running the football because the Lord knows he can't throw it that well especially back when he was in HS, so no, he has no right or reason to complain about his use. Our offense is what it is because he is a dual threat QB I don't know why or how, at this point, he doesn't understand that and honestly, I'm tired of him being a pussy, PLEASE PUT IN GUITON!!! He loves to play and is twice the QUARTERBACK Braxton is.

I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people.

-Woody Hayes

ExpatBuckeye's picture

Excellent article Ross.  My view falls at both ends of the argument.  It seemed when Braxton came back from injury, he really struggled at times when he felt passing was his only option on pass plays.  I started to wonder in those 2 games is Braxton could really be a pass-first QB.  But once he got healthy and was a threat to break a long run, he almost seemed more comfortable throwing the ball (if that makes any sense).  Conversely, at the end of the season, when weather prevented him from effectively passing he again seemed really frustrated.  
Braxton has a lot of areas to improve with another year in college.  Not only, does he need to improve in his overall drop-back passing game but also he seems still to lack the "instincts" on reading the read-option and to know when to scramble and know when to throw it away.  
When things go badly he seems to think he has to call his own number every play and he can't do that in the NFL.

RufusVonDufus's picture

I don't care from which angle you attack this problem, the drop zone ends up being the hesitance of the coaching staff to open up a play book.    We are too easily figured out.


llong83's picture

Wait...the article mentions having to start freshmen J.T. Barrett at qb next year if Brax leaves???? Um, what about 6'5 250lb Cardale Jones?? He'll be a redshirt sophmore this yr right?? long as he goes to class!!! LMAO

Buckeyes...or Nothing

Larryp713's picture

Cardale is a very physically gifted person who could run this offense credibly, but if we are honest and talking about who will replace Braxton Miller, that man is JT Barrett. Not even a debate when you consider the skill set of both players.



BenArazi4's picture

Great players want the ball in their hands hurt or not.  Braxton had a sprain for crying out loud, he could have played the next week if he really wanted to.  Kid is just trying to keep from over-exerting himself for the next level.  If you could make reads and make accurate passes then you MAY have a right to gripe, Braxton doesn't do that.  Remember you accepted a scholarship to play football at THE Ohio State, that's like someone signing up for the military and complaining that you were deployed.  Next man up, I'm ready to let him go.




USMC11917's picture

I understand what you are saying. Was in the corps. I ask you show a little loyalty to Braxton please. We owe him that much. This is the first somewhat controversial thing I have ever heard out of him but even this is small fries compared to those athletes in the past that thought they were above the team. I don't get that from Miller at all.
(Not that it matters but I did not dv YOU)

Rizzoni's picture

I feel Meyer/Herman rely on Miller's legs only when they cannot rely on his arm. Against MSU, Miller had multiple opportunities to make throws down the field. In most cases, the receivers had a step, but Miller consistently under threw the long ones. Once his passing game became stagnant/ineffective, Meyer/Herman were left with few options. Yes, Meyer/Herman should try to further limit the "pounding," but Miller has to improve as a passer for that to happen.
My guess is it more than football we are talking here. Maybe Miller's introvert personality does not mesh well with the rah-rah personalities on our coaching staff. Herman has mentioned multiple times that how he has be trying to make Miller have more fun.

d5k's picture

I know Ross by no means meant for this to happen but lots of mountains out of mole hills in this thread.  Please do not treat Braxton like he just heel-turned Lebron/Hulk Hogan NWO style from these comments.  And while the offense buttoned it up too much imo against MSU let's not forget this is probably the best offense in OSU history.
Edit:  see the post right below mine...

buckeyepastor's picture

Are you KIDDING me?   How many of those rushing attempts came about on plays when Miller made the wrong read and failed to hand the ball off ?  This is baloney.    
Without his rushing opportunities and the line and staff that provided them (I hope to GOD he thanked his linemen when he won the award), Miller is not even CLOSE to being a prospect for the NFL.   

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

Spikebone's picture

This kind of annoys me. I can think of at least 15-20 reads that Miller botched, where he should have given to the RB and instead kept it himself. So there's that....

Stuck in Ann Arbor for work, I can confirm she is indeed a whore.

ejoceans's picture

just run the ball with the running backs! they are good...very good and there is no reason not to run them non stop.  Braxton should only be running on scrambles or broken plays. Go Bucks!

Lets do this Brutus